Free Bankruptcy Software
Consumers can now download free bankruptcy software and save thousands on filing Chapter 7, 11, and 13, all without an attorney. When the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA) made lawyers liable for discrepancies found in clients' insolvency petitions, many attorneys increased their fees or refrained from accepting cases. But not having legal representation doesn't have to be a deterrent to filing. Hundreds of thousands of consumers apply for personal debt protection each year, going solo and saving thousands in legal fees. With the availability of state-of-the-art, user-friendly free bankruptcy software, preparing detailed reports and filling out Federal Bankruptcy Court-compliant forms is relatively simple...and it's perfectly legal.
Anyone who can type on a computer keyboard, point and click a mouse, and read instructions can take full advantage of the latest programs. To find free bankruptcy software, individuals simply browse internet sites via their favorite search engine and shop for vendors to find the best products. Consumers should take care to review vendor specifications and read the fine print -- not all free software packages are completely free. Some offer no-cost downloads of electronic petition forms, but may still require downloading a copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader to generate required financial documents and create PDFs for electronic filing. A PDF (Portable Document Format) is a global exchange document which can be read on any operating system; so consumers need not worry about platform compatibility. Consumers may also need to purchase additional programs like Microsoft Word or WordPerfect to complement free debt protection software and generate forms, which can add to the cost of filing. Bankruptcy form software should function on most PC operating systems, including MS Windows XP, 2000, and earlier platforms such as Windows 98 and 95. Consumers should make sure that there is sufficient memory on the computer's internal hard drive to accommodate the new program. Check the manufacturer's recommendations on the new VISTA operating system to ensure that the free software is compatible.
Online vendors may ply consumers with free trial offers, but an actual fully-integrated, stand-alone bankruptcy program can cost anywhere from $200 to $450. Single-use versions of moderately priced programs for a sole debtor cost under $100. Look for free bankruptcy form software with downloads for each of the required documents for filing Chapter 7, 11, and 13 petitions. These will include Voluntary and Involuntary Petitions, Application and Order to Pay Filing Fee in Installments, Schedules A through J, and more. The best software will include all of the required federally-approved petition forms (which usually can be filled in and filed electronically); user-friendly navigation; and an online tutorial or downloadable manual with information on how to use the program. A bonus feature would be instructions on how to file personal insolvency without a lawyer. No matter how computer-savvy, consumers will also want choose free bankruptcy form software that offers 24/7 technical support. It benefits no one to spend hours filling out forms only to get stymied by a computer glitch. Good software should also include an application which helps users determine their eligibility to file Chapter 7 debt protection. BAPCPA regulations state that if a debtor's income falls beneath their state's median income, they are eligible to file a Chapter 7 petition, which discharges certain indebtedness. Debtors with incomes falling above the state median are required to file Chapter 13 and comply with a court-ordered repayment plan.
Before consumers begin do-it-yourself bankruptcy, they will want to review other federal guidelines and restrictions. In the Bible, the second chapter of I Peter encourages individuals to submit to authority: I Peter 2:13-14 -- "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors..." Consumers who choose to file without legal counsel would be wise to explicitly adhere to regulations under the new federal laws. They will stand a greater chance of having their petitions approved without reprisals or extensive revisions. One important stipulation BAPCPA asks of debtors is that they seek advice from an approved non-profit consumer credit counseling agency prior to filing. This law is designed to enable consumers to make informed decisions before leaping headlong into the personal debt protection process. Additionally, BAPCPA mandates that debtors enroll in a financial education course before they can be discharged from a bankruptcy.
While consumers may not need an attorney and are perfectly within their rights to use bankruptcy form software, these two requirements cannot be ignored. Once a debtor has consulted with a reliable credit counseling agency, they may have a better understanding of how to resolve personal indebtedness through the U.S. court system and comply with federally-mandated requirements. Debtors must then gather information on each creditor, including outstanding bills and the current status of each account. Obtaining a current credit report and credit score, available free of charge online, may help simplify the process. Federal and state income tax returns, employee payroll stubs, full financial disclosures, and documentation of vehicle and mortgage loans are also needed. Once the data has been collected, consumers should download and install the free bankruptcy software and print out all of the forms required for filing in their state. Filling out the forms first by hand will provide a quick reference later to expedite electronic filing. Follow manufacturer's instructions and prompts, being careful to provide accurate figures and answers. Even though consumers file online, they are expected to pay a filing fee, which is determined by the state. Do-it-yourself free bankruptcy software can make a tedious task quick and easy! Why not give it a try?